Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cherry Amaretto Pancakes for One (Vegan)

Do NOT let the vegan thing scare you off. These fluff up just as nicely as any egg-laden pancakes, I promise you that. And they are so simple to throw together - trust me, I know because I made about 5 different batches before I got the ratio right.

These are wonderfully sweet, but if you're trying to reduce your sweets intake, you can leave the sugar out and still get great results. That's because sugar or no sugar, the pairing of cherries with the amaretto syrup is unbeatable. The flavor in these is just heavenly. The recipe below will make enough for one really hungry or 1 1/2 moderately hungry people, so I recommend doubling the recipe if you're having a guest for breakfast. Or if you just don't want them to run out as quickly (which....let's face it. You won't.)

Cherry Amaretto Pancakes for One 
Makes about 6 small or 3 medium pancakes
*This recipe is easily doubled or tripled.

3 tbsp. + 1 tsp. sorghum flour (3/4 oz.)
2 tbsp. almond flour (1/2 oz.)
2 tbsp. tapioca starch (1/2 oz.)
1 tbsp. white sugar (1/2 oz.)
1/8 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. EnerG Egg Replacer + 1 tbsp. water
2 ½ tbsp. So Delicious Vanilla AlmondPlus Milk
1 ½ tsp. Earth Balance Buttery Spread, melted
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. amaretto syrup (can substitute ½ tsp. almond extract)
1/3 cup cherries, chopped into small pieces
Maple syrup, amaretto syrup, and extra cherries for topping

Measure out the flours and mix them together with the salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl, beat the egg replacer with the tablespoon of water until frothy, then add the almond milk, melted vegan butter substitute, vanilla, and amaretto syrup and mix together. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ones and stir to combine. Add in the chopped cherries.

Meanwhile, spray a skillet with non-stick cooking spray and preheat at medium heat. When the skillet is preheated, add about 1 ½ - 2 tbsp. worth of batter for each pancake (the batter will spread in the pan). Cook for about 2 – 3 minutes on each side until done all the way through.

Serve hot topped with maple syrup, amaretto syrup, and the extra cherries mixed together. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Roasted Eggplant and Garlic Pesto

I know. It may seem kind of weird. But, really - roasted garlic? Roasted eggplant? You can't go wrong.

Simplicity is something I need in my life right now, at least with food. Everything else feels so crazy and rushed and looming and overwhelming between my job and finishing up with graduate school, that the idea of a simple meal that still tastes good (and is healthy, no less) is irresistible. And that's what this recipe is - simplicity at its best. Minimal work upfront, and then it turns into a magnificent meal while you do other stuff.

So give it a try! Eggplants are one of those oft-overlooked vegetables that may surprise you. So why not let it?

Roasted Eggplant Pesto
Makes enough for two servings of pasta

1 medium eggplant
20 ripe cherry tomatoes
1/2 red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
To taste (roughly 1/2 tsp of each): dried basil, dried oregano, dried parsley, dried thyme

Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Line a large roasting pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Peel the eggplant and cut into 4 pieces (lengthwise). Sprinkle liberally with salt (you'll wipe most of it off again in a few minutes) and let sit for about 15 minutes. This will cause the eggplants to "sweat" and will get rid of some of the moisture. After 15 minutes, use paper towels to wipe the beads of moisture and salt off of the eggplant. Cut it into large chunks and place back into the foil-lined roasting pan.

Meanwhile, chop the onion and garlic into small pieces, and cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Add them to the eggplant once you've done the step above.  In a small bowl, combine the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and pour it over the entire mixture. Sprinkle the spices over the whole thing and stir it up to mix (but don't worry about mixing it too well).

Place in the oven and roast for about an hour, stirring every 10 - 15 minutes. Roast until the eggplant is very tender - it may take longer than an hour. Once it's done, put it all into a food processor and blend until it's as smooth as you'd like it. You can add a bit more olive oil or a little water if you want it to be thinner.

Serve over gluten-free pasta as a pesto, or as a tapenade on bread or crackers.